Sam Copeman will be City's Community Hero v West Brom
NORWICH City will welcome a participant from the Club’s Down’s Syndrome football team as their Community Hero for Saturday's game against West Bromwich Albion.
Eighteen-year-old Sam Copeman, from Cromer, will have the honour of bringing out the matchball prior to kick-off.
Sam has been an ever-present participant of the team since it was formed in 2011, being among those who attended the first ever session.
The team, which is run by the Club’s Community Sports Foundation and relies on funding from the Barclays Premier League and the charity’s Sporting Light Appeal, meets weekly on Saturday mornings for training sessions.
They also play fixtures against equivalent teams from across the country, and proud Mum Jane said: "The Saturday sessions are the highlight of his week; he really looks forward to them.
"He’s made some really good friends, developed his football skills, and - as a big Norwich City fan - the chance to represent the Club means so much to him.
"For us parents too, the sessions give us the chance to compare notes. Many of the parents travel with the team when they play away across the country, and we’ve formed some life-long bonds with other families."
Just last week, Sam and the DS team enjoyed a trip to Newcastle to play the Newcastle United Foundation DS side as part of a tour which included the chance to cheer the Canaries on at St. James’ Park.
Football is a big in the Copeman household, as Jane explained: "His younger brother Harry and father play football for North Walsham U18s and Cromer Veterans respectively.
"Sam spent many years on the sidelines watching them play, but the DS sessions give him the chance to play too. It can be difficult for siblings in circumstances like Harry and Sam’s to find a common interest as they get older, but they have really bonded over their shared interest in football."
Their bond is so strong that Harry, 16, has been inspired to volunteer at the sessions himself and now helps CSF staff coach the team.
Sam’s own involvement with CSF goes beyond just the Down’s Syndrome Football team; this year he was one of a number of volunteers who helped support walkers doing the annual 47-mile Coastal Walk Challenge, one of which was his Dad, Matt.
Sam will be accompanied by brother Harry, mum Jane and dad Matt on the pitch at Carrow Road and we hope they enjoy their day with us.
More information on CSF’s range of disability programmes, which include cerebral palsy and hearing impaired soccer schools as well as the Norwich City Down’s Syndrome football team, can be found by visiting communitysportsfoundation.org.uk